U keeps Goldy’s look consistent

The mascot provides an image people will recognize and identify with the University.

Lora Pabst

Everywhere students look around campus, they spot brands and logos.

From businesses to universities, there can be money and pride at stake in these images.

The University is represented by two primary marks: the M inlaid with gold and Goldy Gopher, said Kari Canfield, director of brand development for athletics.

This fall the department will emphasize the difference between collegiate and professional athletics in its advertising and branding, Canfield said.

Canfield is working on changing the image of University athletics and promoting the collegiate athlete this year.

“We want to celebrate the tradition of the athletics you’ll see at games,” she said. “We want to sell the college athlete playing for the love of the game.”

This fall, that image will be in much of the advertising the University puts out, she said.

“We’re trying to portray the collegiate way,” Canfield said.

Although sports is the area with the greatest interest, Goldy Gopher and the Minnesota ‘M’ represent the whole University, said Linda Thrane, vice president for university relations.

Thrane works with the athletics department to provide a uniform brand for the University.

Every year, the University relations office works to make sure the logos stay consistent, Thrane said.

“The University has been working the last couple of years to get consistence and clarity for the logos that represent the ‘U,’ ” she said.

In the past couple of years, this has meant using only the running Goldy image in publications, Thrane said.

The mascot Goldy is still allowed to wear sports jerseys at different sporting events, but the goal is to avoid multiple images representing the University, she said.

Branding can be an important factor in any organization.

“There is a lot of value associated with those branded images,” Thrane said. “These are visual images that are developed around a product people understand and recognize.”

Other Big Ten schools also maintain a consistent mascot and image.

In 2002, the University of Wisconsin updated its mascot, Bucky Badger, to clean up the image, said Cindy Van Matre, director of trademark licensing for the University of Wisconsin.

The update was successful, Van Matre said, and the school made more than $1.6 million in licensing Bucky from July 2004 to July 2005.

“An important part of branding is having images that are strong and that people can identify with,” she said.

University of Minnesota students can count on seeing changes in the advertising and branding of the University because the images are always being updated, Canfield said.

“We have always worked to protect the University’s marks,” Thrane said. “It’s something we need to be vigilant about.”